Posts made in September, 2011

Potter’s Book Club: A Potter’s Workbook by Clary Illian

Posted by on Sep 30, 2011 in About Me, Books, Workshop | 1 comment

If I formed an actual book club for potters, Clary Illian’s A Potter’s Workbook would definitely be on the reading list.  It would be great fun to work through the assignments with other potters and then have a group discussion. Illian defines A Potter’s Workbook as  “a utilitarian pottery workshop in a book…designed to help students who are learning to throw pots, potters who know how to throw but feel the need for greater understanding, and skilled craftspeople who enjoy thinking about the objects they love” (pg 1).   And, I found it to be all of that and more. The chapters are organized by concept and pot shape.  Each section has an assignment and lots of black and white photographs of leather-hard pots are used to illustrate various solutions to that assignment.  Illian provides tangible advice about aesthetics and gives ample consideration to function for each assignment.   She offers beginning potters practical instruction for basic throwing such as which hand should be dominant when making bowls/cylinders and she challenges advanced potters to use proportional relationships to design successful pots.  I think her discussion of handle placement is the best I have ever encountered; and, I have often relied on her guidelines when choosing where to put handles on new pots. When I began pottery, I was overwhelmed with learning basic throwing skills; but, at this point in my pottery journey, I want to make my pots more distinctively mine.  Illian says that “noticing your concerns and continually defining and refining them [will] give birth to personal style” (pg 89); and, that as you are working through your preferences, your style is evolving on its own.   She emphasizes the benefits of drawing and language for learning to see pots and identifying desirable elements in those pots.  She promises that these skills will help a potter “to succeed intentionally rather than by happy accident” (pg 81) – in which I am very hopeful. A Potter’s Workbook celebrates the wondrous complexity of form.  Many of the commentaries have caused me to be more mindful when I am making pots and provided me with vocabulary to I analyze them with after they are thrown.  It would be a worthy read for any potter individually or in a group....

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Bonne Anniversaire!

Posted by on Sep 29, 2011 in About Me, Mugs, Surface Decoration | 2 comments

One year!  It has been one year since I started this blog.  And, I have to say, that I have enjoyed working on it more than I would have thought.  I enjoy finding photos and working out ideas to share.  Thank you to everyone who checks in.  I am honored that you choose to spend some of your valuable time with me.  I am looking forward to continuing to share my musings on pottery and anything else that I can put into coherent...

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Autumn!

Posted by on Sep 24, 2011 in About Me, Philosophy, Teabowl | 0 comments

Yesterday was the beginning of autumn, my favorite season.  I love this time of year; and, even though eastern NC is slow in her transition, I am in full fall mode.  There are so many things I enjoy about this time of year – cooler weather, softer light, changing leaves, football. I takes a bit of effort for me to enjoy summer – but it is so easy for me to celebrate fall.  I buy mums, put out pumpkins, decorate the house with warm fall colors, light candles, and make soups.  I even have music that I listen to this time of year.  Most of my favorites include the hammered dulcimer: By the Pond by Stephen Humphries and A Following Wind by Glenn Morgan. Some how, pottery seems to fit right in with my love of fall probably because it embodies so many of the same things I associate with fall: quite, contemplative, and...

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Trade-Up Policy

Posted by on Sep 21, 2011 in About Me, Glazes, Mugs, Multiples | 6 comments

When I first started making pottery, I chucked most of my pots.  In fact, it was quite a while before I kept anything (I am not sentimental).  I held no delusions about the quality of pot I was capable of making.  It is the same for all potters.  In the beginning, your pots look like a 3rd grader made them. But after a lot of practice, my pots improved.  Mind you, they weren’t good, but they were better.  But I didn’t keep many and certainly didn’t consider giving them away for quite some time. After several months of throwing, I finally had a some pots that were keepable and a few that were givable.  So I gave a mug to my soul-friend, Sharon.  She still has it – she says it represents all that I have accomplished.  (She is certainly one of my biggest fans). As my throwing skills improved, so did my confidence.  I embarked on a 50-Mugs project which meant I had a plethora of mugs that I began to share.  Although the mugs I gave away were my best work at that time, my mugs have improved a lot technically and aesthetically since then.  So I tell anyone that has a pot I gave them that I have a standing trade-up policy.  I will happily replace any old pot for a new pot of their choice – believe me, the new pots are much better. The thing is, no one has taken up my offer yet.  In fact most of them tell me how much they like the pots I have given them.  But the policy is there should they ever change their...

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Sparkcon

Posted by on Sep 18, 2011 in Shows | 0 comments

I am happy to be home – it was a long weekend.  Craft shows are fun but they are a lot of work.  Unfortunately, the weather was uncooperative for Sparkcon.  Saturday was cold and wet; and, although the weather was much better today, the crowd was small. The poor weather gave us a chance to break in our new side-wall panels.  Julie ordered them this summer and this was our first opportunity to try them out.  They are great – the wind and rain were kept at bay all day Saturday.  So, Julie and I spent the day chatting away in our cozy booth. Even when the shows are slow, I enjoy the time.  It is hard not to talk about pottery when we are surrounded by it!  But it is a great opportunity to do some self-critiquing and brainstorming about what we can do when we get back into the studio… I am thankful for even a rainy day at a craft...

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